Monday, December 19, 2011

Alert Now Message (Monday, December 19, 2011)

Hello, this is Tommy Hunter, principal at Ardmore High School. Tuesday, December 20 and Wednesday, December 21st will be exams for students across Limestone County. We will be testing periods, 2, 4, and 6 on Tuesday and periods 1, 3, 5, and 7 on Wednesday. In order to give students more time for each exam we will be on a different bell schedule these days. For complete details please see our website. Thank you and have a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Alert Now Message (Friday December 16)

Hello, this is Tommy Hunter, principal at Ardmore High School. Semester exams are given December 20 and 21. Monday, December 19 is a regular day for all our students. Sixth grade will be having regular classes through December 21 since they do not take semester exams. For complete details concerning semester exams please see the school website. We hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Superintendent (Article from

ATHENS, Alabama -- The Limestone County school board is seeking input from school employees and residents on what they want in the district's new superintendent.
The board is conducting an online survey to determine what characteristics and skills the next leader of the 8,900-student school system should possess. Former Superintendent Barry Carroll retired on Dec. 1.
The survey is anonymous and takes about 10 minutes to complete, said Karen Tucker, director of technology, public relations and professional development for Limestone County Schools. Board members will meet in early January to review the results and set the criteria for choosing the superintendent.
The board anticipates launching the search on Jan. 20, Tucker said.
The survey link, which will remain open through Jan. 1, can be found on the district's homepage at

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Band Honors

Our Ardmore High School Band is renown for its excellence. Mr. Bowman and the band members work very hard to stay at the exemplary level considered to be the norm for Ardmore. Our students are great musicians and students so not surprisingly they win many honors individually and as a band.

The latest honors are for Veronika Gerhold, Jessica Davis, and Sandra Woodard who were selected to participate in the University of Alabama High School Symphonic Honor Band. It is a great honor to be selected, as nearly 1,000 high school band students from across the South apply each year, and only 350 are selected.

Our band performs in their annual Christmas concert Thursday night, December 15 in the gym. Please come out and support our band.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Preparing for Semester Exams

Semester exams are quickly approaching and students are scrambling to make sure they end up with the grade they desire. Santa doesn’t do semester exams, so preparation and hard work are necessary. Of course the real answer is to learn the material as the year progressed so studying is just a review. It is similar to saying don’t wait until your child is about to start college to start saving.

When the preparation hasn’t been done, a student must still have a plan. It is never too early to start studying for the exams. Just a little time each night reviewing notes and textbooks can pay huge dividends, especially with exams only a week away. As the exams draw even closer, nearly all teachers will pass out study guide for the test. These study guides should be completed (not copied) and in doing so the material is refreshed in the mind of the student. Once the study guide is complete a little studying and quizzing from someone else can pay off. If you want to really surprise your parents, ask them to help you study. After you pick them up from the ground (because they passed out from the shock) they will be more than happy to help you study.

It is important to make sure and plan ahead depending on your exam schedule. Depending on your academic schedule your really hard exams may be spread out, or could end up on one day. This is an important consideration when budgeting your study time. This is an excellent skill to learn for college bound students because amount of time studying generally equates to grade earned.

We hope our students have prepared themselves for what is to come and the good news is that it is never too late to try. As long as the paper hasn’t been turned into the teacher there is still time to study, and maybe a say a little prayer.


For those of you that might not be familiar with CARE, it is an acronym for Core Assignment REcovery (CARE). The acronym isn't perfect but it gets the point across. We want all students to do their work. We do not accept students coming on campus and not doing work. When students do not do their work, they are given a "CARE" sheet which means they must make up the work by the assigned date. Many teachers do not award full credit for the assignment since the student didn't do the assignment when it was given.

If students still do not complete the assignment, their name is sent to the assistant principal and they are assigned a day of In-School Suspension (ISS) to do the work. This ensures students do their work and although they may not make as good as they would have the first time it keeps them from receiving a zero and hopefully encourages them to do the assignment the first time it is assigned.

If your student brings home a CARE form please note that unless it is a test, they do not have to come to school to do the assignment. We have detention available before and after school for them to take tests and studnets are certainly allowed to do other work during this time, but if the work is homework or classwork they can do it at home.

We want to help students understand that doing the work assigned by the teacher is very important and improves not only the grade, but the comprehension and retention of the material. Working together we can make a difference.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

President's Roosevelt's Declaration of War

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Here is a video on Fox News about Pearl Harbor.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Coach Mike Jackson for being chosen Ardmore High School Teacher of the Year! Coach Jackson has been with LCS for thirty-one years. Prior to obtaining his teaching certificate he was a volunteer coach seven years at West Limestone and Owens. He is working on his twenty-fourth year of teaching and coaching at AHS. Coach Jackson has a BS degree in Biology and PE and a Masters degree in Biology with an endorsement in General Science. He has taught Physical Science, Environmental Science, Earth Science, and Biology. He has been the department chair for Science for the last seven years. In addition to teaching, Coach Jackson has coached softball, basketball, baseball, and is currently coaching football and golf.

Teaching and coaching have presented many memorable experiences, but there are two that are top on his list. His coaching moment came in the top of the seventh inning in 1993 when he called time out in the final game of the State Softball Tournament to pinch hit for Sissy Vanhouser. He stated, "We met halfway between home and third base.” She said “Coach, I can get on.” He continued, “I let her bat and with the first pitch she dribbled it down third base line and when the third baseman picked up the ball Sissy had already crossed first base which led to the winning run of the State Tourney."

For the past twenty-one years, Coach Jackson has required his Science classes to do a Periodic Table assignment in which each student must draw and print the Periodic Table on poster board as well as memorize the elements and their symbols. When asked about a most memorable teaching experience, he stated, "I had decided to stop the Periodic Table assignment due to the complexity and mass amount of information required. However, I had a student to come to me and say, 'Coach, I would have never passed Science in college if you hadn't pushed me to do the Periodic Table Project.' "

Coach Mike Jackson doesn’t limit his teaching to the classroom. He is certified in AMSTI Science and Motion and takes advantage of the hands-on-learning experience, utilizing the labs that are available from Athens State College. He also implements teaching and learning through various computer software applications and virtual labs. Field trips to The Space and Rocket Center are a highlight for many students of Coach Jackson. Coach Mike Jackson is an outstanding teacher and coach and continues to have a positive influence on many students. We are most privileged that he is at AHS and are proud to have him named as the AHS Teacher of the Year.

AHSAA Eligibility Rules

Here is a PPT from the AHSAA website concerning athletic eligibility. Click here to view slides.

Alabama High School Graduation Exam

The Alabama High School Graduation Exam (AHSGE) is given three times during the school year. Schools administer the exam during the fall, winter and spring. Alabama guidelines determine who is eligible to take the exam. As a general rule (there are exceptions to everything) students will take the test for the first time in the spring of their tenth grade year. An exception would be a student completing Algebra I or Biology before their tenth grade year. This first administration is actually called the pre-graduation exam because technically the test is on the eleventh grade level and tenth grade students are given the test to prepare them to take it in the eleventh grade. Of course many students pass the test while in the tenth grade and once a portion of the test is passed it does not have to be taken again.

The test itself consists of five parts: Reading, Language, Math, History, and Biology and in order to obtain a standard diploma, all parts must be passed. Students may earn a Credit Based Diploma is they pass Reading, Math and one more section of the AHSGE. Students are prepared for the test in their regular classes, but if they have trouble with the test they are offered specials skills classes to help prepare them for the test. Each junior that failed any portion of the exam is scheduled in a skills lab class. Although parents may opt out of this class for their junior year, all senior students that haven’t passed all portions of the AHSGE must take a skills lab to prepare them for the test.

In the best case scenarios a student could have 6 attempts to take the exam. The test is administered once as a sophomore, once as a junior, in the summer before the senior year and three times during the senior year. Of course if a student is absent the day the test is administered, or if they transfer in out of state they can miss opportunities to take the exam.

This is a brief explanation of the rules of the AHSGE but you can click here for more details.

Friday, December 2, 2011

What Makes A Great School?

Schools are rated in a variety of different ways. Tons of research has been done and millions of dollars spent to find out the difference between poor schools, average schools, and great schools. Countries, states, and systems are constantly looking for an edge that will make them rise above the others.

Multitudes of programs, and teaching methods have been tried throughout the years with varying degrees of success. For a while, schools were built in pods because that was going to be the thing that finally changed education. This trend came and left causing many systems to renovate round, open rooms to move back to a more traditional building.

Technology has changed drastically in the last ten years. Anyone that knows me knows I love technology and I truly believe technology used correctly is a great resource for teachers. We do our students a huge injustice if technology is not an integral part of what we do in the classroom. Having said this, technology itself is not the answer to public education.

I could go on and on about what I believe is important in education, but I can sum it all up by saying the most important aspect of education is the teacher. Research has shown what we intuitively know, which is that the teacher in the classroom makes all the difference in the world. A great teacher can teach in any shape room with any number of distractions, or no distractions at all, and the students will still learn. Great teachers take technology and really transform education. Poor teachers can have access to the same technology and it is useless.

I am not trying to lay the entire burden on teachers because they can’t do it by themselves. Parents, administrators, students, and society must do their part to help teachers. I am just trying to make the point that regardless of what takes place nationally or state wide, good teachers will continue to make sure students learn. We have gone through a difficult time financially and we all have had to tighten our belts and despite having hurdles to jump great teachers have prevailed.

We are very fortunate to have some great teachers at Ardmore and they continue to provide outstanding instruction to our students. We want to continue to improve because as it has been said, “When you stop getting better, you cease being good.” We are looking for ways to improve our school and it all begins with great teachers. I hope as you run into your child’s teacher in the grocery store or at a ball game you will tell them how much you appreciate what they do for your children. We have all learned from someone and we can only hope we had great teachers to guide us as we went through school. The lessons we learned can help us the remainder of our lives.